L. Klopfenstein, A. Fedosyeyev, A. Bogliolo

University of Urbino (ITALY)
The recent spread of coding literacy initiatives, such as Hour of Code, Europe Code Week, or Africa Code Week, have underlined the growing importance and interest for computational thinking, often channeled through the use of innovative teaching tools, which foster creativity, collaboration, and interactivity.

Learning coding notions is generally tied to the use of computers or other electronic devices, and most recent educational tools are based on online visual programming platforms, which may lead to discrimination because of the digital divide, the lack of sufficient infrastructure, or cultural and linguistic barriers.

However, many code learning activities can be performed in an “unplugged” scenario, often with as little as a pencil and some paper. In fact, CodyRoby is an example of a do-it-yourself unplugged programming kit, published in the end of 2014. Through the use of color-coded cards, inspired by the building blocks of visual programming tools, and the use of intuitive symbols instead of words, the kit enables various fully inclusive coding experiences.

In this work we present a smartphone-based augmented reality system that empowers this simple tool and transforms a CodyRoby session into an immersive experience. A printable additional kit of markers allow a smartphone app to detect game components, such as the chessboard on which to play, and to present additional gaming elements on screen or to draw customizable decorative elements to stimulate engagement and creativity, especially in younger players. Several different game modes are presented and discussed. The suitability of the system to intimate, small-scale, or even large-scale coding events is also discussed.